A Surrey-based men’s soccer team that won the national club championship last fall will move forward with a new name honouring fallen teammate Brandon Bassi.
Central City Breakers (CCB) is now known as BB5 United, the logo of which features a single star representing the club’s very first Challenge Trophy win at the 2019 Toyota National Championships in St. John’s last October.
Bassi, 19, was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Newton the previous May, just a couple weeks after the team won the provincial title and a berth at nationals. Following Bassi’s death, the team rallied to win the national title for “BB5,” and celebrated by holding up his #5 jersey during the trophy presentation on the soccer pitch in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Manager/coach Ted Hans said the team wanted to honour the Delta resident in a meaningful way, with a new name and logo that was revealed on social media Sunday (Aug. 9).
— BB5 UNITED (@CCBLFCUNITED) August 9, 2020
“We dedicate everything we do on the pitch to you Brandon,” the team posted to Instagram. “We love you, miss you and hope to make you proud and continue your legacy as a champion.”
Hans said “the team loves it, the family loves it and the soccer community as a whole likes what we’ve done here as a gesture.
“There are a lot of moving parts with something like this,” he added. “It needed approval from the league (Vancouver Metro Soccer League), and (Surrey FC) Pegasus has been really supportive. First and foremost, we wanted to get the blessing from Brandon’s parents, that was the most important thing to us. When we brought up the idea with them, they were more than honoured to have this happen, to be the team name like this.”
The team’s former CCB name was dissolved when the Central City Breakers youth soccer association amalgamated with Surrey FC Pegasus last February.
VIDEO: Jubilation for Surrey's Central City Breakers after the men's soccer team won a national club championship today in St. John's. "BB5!" and "Brandon!" chants for teammate Brandon Bassi, killed in a car crash last May. His #5 jersey, with team here, was the last one he wore pic.twitter.com/D9UmazIsOk
— Tom Zillich (@TomZillich) October 14, 2019
BB5 United captain/goalkeeper Luke O’Shea said members of the team still talk often about Brandon, more than a year after his death.
“We miss him deeply, and he was such a great person,” O’Shea said. “He means a lot to us, and now we’ll always carry him with us.”
Hans credits Ravi Gill of Bullseye Tech Group for designing the logo as a favour to the team.
“We spit out 200 ideas to him,” Hans said with a laugh, “and he came back with three or four drafts and we fell in love with logo.”
The words ‘Ride ‘Til I Can’t No More’ are lyrics from “Old Town Road,” the Lil Nas X hit.
“Brandon loved that song and it became a staple in our locker-room before and after games,” Hans said. “He introduced it to us during our provincial championship run, and we always played it after that.”
With the coming soccer season delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BB5 United soon plans a return to the pitch for conditioning, with an eye on possible games, if and when allowed by health and soccer authorities.
Canada Soccer has cancelled the 2020 edition of the Toyota National Championships, which were scheduled to take place from Oct. 7 to 12.
Looking ahead, Canada Soccer’s plan is for fields at Newton Athletic Park to see action during the 2021 national club competitions for men and women that fall, with Surrey FC as host.
“We think we’re still a really good team,” Hans said, “and we’re going to push to win provincials and nationals again while we’re still young, and changing our team name is just a way to cement Brandon’s legacy with us. There’d be nothing better for us to have another provincial and national title with us playing as BB5. If we get there, it’d be pretty special for us, but we have to earn our way there to be able to play for nationals in front of a home crowd.”